Rating: 4 / 5
I have really become a fan of Jesmyn Ward in the last year, so when WHERE THE LINE BLEEDS was selected as a discussion book for the Reading Women Podcast as part of their Working Class Stories theme in June, I knew I’d be picking this book up. This book is part of Ward’s Bois Savage series which are loosely connected in place and time and I had already read and enjoyed the other two, SALVAGE THE BONES and SING, UNBURIED, SING.
WHERE THE LINE BLEEDS tells the story of two young men, twins Joshua and Christophe. As the book begins, they are graduating from high school and ready to take on life. They haven’t had a traditional home life. Their father was a drug addict and not in the picture and their mother left town when they were very young. They’ve been cared for by their grandmother who is going blind as a result of diabetes so they are becoming her caregivers more and more.
In a difficult economic climate, the Joshua and Christophe put in application after application at the same places, sharing a car and an ambition to get work. As it turns out, only Joshua gets hired. Desperate to start making money, Christope is convinced to start selling drugs. This continues to drive a wedge between the brothers who have only known how to tackle life up to now as a pair.
This book was really fascinating. This is not a story that relies a lot on plot, but focuses in on character development and why these characters make the decisions they do. In some twist of fate, largely based on luck, Joshua gets an opportunity to better his situation and is forced in many ways to leave Christophe behind.
I have enjoyed reading a few novels this year that really explore the consequences of different choices and how life might have been different if a different choice was made. In this novel, this same theme gets a twist in that you have two boys who are very much the same until high school graduation, but are put on different paths with just one minor difference in getting and not getting a job offer.
Also, a little bit of cover appreciation. At first glance, it appears to be a lovely cover with some pretty foliage. While it is that, it also depicts the twins and the widening river between them and their lives in the novel.
Overall, I really loved the reading experience. As with all of Ward’s books that I have read so far, the author really has a masterful way of writing descriptions that I really enjoy, so I will definitely be adding more Jesmyn Ward titles to my TBR!